According to some of the experts, it sounds like they are already predicting the Rockies to not only make it to the World Series, but to take it as well. Hands down, no hesitation, I want the Rockies to make it to the World Series, I believe they can, and yes, I want them to take it, I believe they can too. However, when it comes to experts and their predictions, I tend to be one of those people who doesn’t like to count their chickens… or… eggs? Count their eggs before… their chickens lay them…? Whatever, you know what I mean.
When we look at spring training and regular season, we’re looking at two very different ballgames (haha, yeah, I did just make that joke). I don’t honestly think you can make any assumption before you see a regular season game played. I mean, why do you think the Cubs always say, “this is our year” before the season starts (that was mean… but true… but still mean)? If you recall the beginning of the Rockies’ 2009 season, no one would have predicted them to go anywhere, and look at what they did.
Now, like I said, I believe the Rockies can make it to the World Series; I’ll hope for that every year. But there are a lot of factors that are going to contribute to the success of this team as well as ones that raise questions.
No doubt the Rockies have an incredible lineup filled with young guys who have shown they can play the game. Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler are going to continue to produce. They’re young, talented, and well on their way to becoming five tool players. Gonzalez did some incredible things in winter ball this past season and Fowler has continued to work on his game. Not only that, but the dangerous, defensive combination of these two significantly shrinks the outfield. Todd Helton, despite his age, can also produce hits. While he’s no longer in his prime, the important thing is that he can still play the game and has the passion to do so as well. A lot of stress will also be taken off his shoulders with Jason Giambi as a back up, and Melvin Mora able to cover first. I’ve also really liked what I’ve seen of Brad Eldred this spring training, I think he could play an important role later in the season. Troy Tulowitzki, well, no questions asked, he’s one of the best – young and an elite force on the team.
The Rockies, undoubtedly, may have the best bench in the history of this team. This includes Giambi, Ryan Spilborghs, and Seth Smith. All three can come up with big hits, especially Smith. He was an immense force for the Rockies and came up as a pinch hitter, an incredibly important role. I’ll be honest that I never knew too much about Melvin Mora or Miguel Olivo. While I still don’t know much about Olivio, I like what I’ve seen with Mora. The epitome of a utility player, third base, short stop, second base, and the entire outfield.
Here’s where the Rockies are going to run into some problems. The first and biggest problem is our closer Huston Street has found his way to the DL. Although he hopes for a return on May 1, the Rockies trainer isn’t making any promises. This means that the Rockies need a replacement, with Franklin Morales, Manny Corpas, and Matt Belisle in the running. I’m not big on any of these options, but one has to be chosen. Franklin Morales acted as a sub last season when Street went to the DL, and while his performance managed to get the job done, I just didn’t feel comfortable seeing the ball given to him in the ninth. Manny Corpas needs to get back to his 2007 self if he wants to be a really, truly viable option; however, he could also be considered as a set up man for games. Matt Belisle could also be an option if a few righties are coming up to bat.
Jeff Francis is also heading to the 15 day DL. While he hasn’t made a pitch in a major leaguegame since September 18 of 2009, I was excited to see him start. I really trust Jim Tracy and if he had Francis in spot number two of the rotation, then I was going to let it ride. I am, however, very excited to see the potential of Greg Smith. When we acquired Street, Gonzalez, and Smith in the trade for Holliday, I knew we had to be getting a good deal. That paid off as far as Street and Gonzalez; and while I’ve wanted to see Smith make his debut with the Rockies, it has yet to happen. We’ll see how things go.
Here’s what could make the Rockies dangerous: discipline. They need discipline at the plate, discipline in commanding pitches and focusing on the pitch at hand rather than worrying about the runner, and discipline when it comes to stealing bases. That will make the Rockies a truly threatening team for this upcoming season.
Just a warning, this will be a long one.
I think at some point, we all believe that there’s this one song that was written about us. It fits everything; it’s perfect in every way and describes your mood, the way you feel, like that song and that moment were destined to be together.
Like the lyrics:
You’re hot then you’re cold
You’re yes then you’re no
You’re in then you’re out
You’re up then you’re down
While I’m not a big fan of this song in the first place, it seems to reflect the way the Rockies are playing as of late.
I had the privilege of going to this entire series against Atlanta, and those lyrics pretty much describe exactly how the Rockies played during that series. So, let’s rewind to day one.
I was scheduled to meet Tom, we would catch some batting practice, and then head to the dugout to try and get some autographs. As usual, I was running late and got to the gate to find Tom waiting for me. We picked up some Rockpile tickets and headed inside. Batting practice was pretty casual, unlike Don, I’m not coordinated enough to catch a ball that isn’t coming right to me (or maybe even catch a ball in the first place, I haven’t been posed with that opportunity yet), so Tom and I just kind of hung out, but ready to catch a ball. They opened up the rest of the stadium and we headed over to the dugout.
It was Tom’s mission to get Todd Helton’s autograph on his picture of the 2000th hit. I had the fortune of being set up with a pretty amazing shot of Garrett Atkins, courtesy Mr. Walsh. Both of us were lusting after these players’ autographs, and lo and behold, neither of us got it.
We sat in some pretty spectacular $4 seats and sat back to watch the amazingness that is the Rockies.
Unfortunately, Cook was a little “cold” that night and was struggling to get outs. He would last 5.2 innings and give up nine hits. However, our hitting was “hot.”
Tom and I were discussing Garrett Atkins and Ian Stewart, and Tom said that Stewart’s bat needed to come alive tonight, since it appeared he’d been struggling. Stewart didn’t fail to deliver, hitting a longball and driving in Tulowitzki. Well… guess Stewie overheard Tom.
It didn’t take long while all this was happening for me to find none other than Garrett Atkins sitting in the dugout.
You should’ve seen this one coming.
The game rolled on, and for me, this next moment was the defining moment. Stewart walked, and a pitch hit Iannetta, then, Garrett Atkins came up. “Oh please, Atty, I know you’re good for it.” A lot of people have lost confidence in Garrett Atkins, if you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you would know that I haven’t, and you would know that I’ve said that over and over with the secret hope that Garrett Atkins will come across it some day.
And Atty, well, he didn’t let me down. In the bottom of the eighth, he doubled to deep left and brought in Stewie and Iannetta. It was epic. No “FAIL” on Atty, take that world, Rockies are now ahead, and they would end it coming out on top. Also, as you can see, I was a little too excited for my own good that Atkins was up and couldn’t hold my camera still.
After the game, I couldn’t wait to get back to the ballpark the next day; I was practically counting down the minutes.
So the next day rolled around, and off I was to go meet Mr. Walsh once again. I was also meeting a couple of other friends there; it was a t-shirt giveaway of one of our All Stars, Brad Hawpe. My friends wanted to catch batting practice so we headed over to the Rockpile gate to meet them so I could give them their tickets. Well, there was someone working there who took their job very seriously and wouldn’t let us get in line with our friends. That turned out to be okay because it was necessary to try and get that Todd Helton autograph for Tom.
We got into the stadium and grabbed our Brad Hawpe shirt and headed down to the dugout. Iannetta, as usual, was the first one out. Tom gave me some points on being aggressive to get autographs, I’m way too shy for life. But, I managed to land three:
and Ian Stewart.
Then, what was this? Garrett Atkins was in the dugout and appeared to be signing some things for people.
“Go over and ask him to sign your picture.” Tom had confidence that I could get Atkins’ autograph, I did not.
“Go quick! He’s signing stuff!”
Our conversation was somewhere along the lines of that. So, I headed over to the dugout and was way to shy to try and get Atkins autograph, then the National Anthem started and I was S.O.L.
“You probably coulda had it if you headed over like… five minutes earlier.”
Curse my shyness and me.
Well, yet again Todd Helton’s 2000th hit went unautographed, as did my picture. We headed over to right field to find my friends.
For the night, our pitching was “yes” but our hitting was “no.”
Ubaldo Jimenez pitched six innings, which doesn’t sound impressive, but had eight strikeouts during those six innings.
We lacked in run support and our only run on the board came from a homer from ol’ reliable, Todd Helton.
The scary moment of the night wasn’t the lightning, but was when Alan Embree had a ball driven into his leg. He was on the ground, shaking and sweating. He was taken off the field and the Rockies were back to business. Embree ended the night, and possibly his season, with a broken tibia. Although Tracy said he’s making a go
od recovery and may even be back by the end of the season, it’s still up in the air. Get well soon, Alan.
On Saturday, it was time for the Rockies to bounce back, and they did… well… almost.
Jason Marquis was pitching, however, his pitching was “out” and hitting was “in”… kinda.
Maybe it was the All Star nerves, or the relaxation of being the first pitcher this season to get 11 wins, but Marquis was certainly not on his game. He struggled for six innings and ended the night with 97 pitches.
The Rockies runs didn’t come until the seventh inning, that’s when the bats started to come alive.
Troy Tulowitzki homered to deep left, that kick started the excitement.
Ian Stewart doubled into deep left center, after which Seth Smith would single to center, driving in Ian Stewart.
Garrett Atkins singled moving Seth Smith to third and on a wild pitch, Smith made it home.
That would be the end of the rally, and yet again, the Rockies would take another beating from the Braves.
I went to the game with my mom that day and she scored us some Wells Fargo Club Level seats. Although it was nice to sit up there, I found the area to seem… off. The woman next to me had on pearls, and not that there’s anything wrong with wearing pearls, but they go with a specific type of outfit, so you can guess that she wasn’t in a baseball jersey. Not only that, but she was drinking wine. Maybe it’s just me but… really, who drinks wine at a ballgame? That’s like all those girls who come wearing CFM heels and mini skirts. Who does that?
While I appreciated club level for what it was, I found the setting as a whole to be rather pretentious. Pretentious may not be the right word, but it’s the word that comes to mind. I didn’t really feel comfortable yelling at Jason Marquis or telling the ump he was clearly blind.
I went to bed Saturday night thinking that I wasn’t going to the game the next morning. My wonderful mother had other plans in store for me.
Thanks to StubHub, she had scored us tickets 16 rows behind the Rockies dugout. I arrived at the game, eager to find where we were sitting and see who was playing. To my surprise, Todd Helton was out of the lineup, and who was at first… literally, right by where I was sitting? That’s right, Garrett Atkins. It was… amazing. Having confidence that Atkins would be in the lineup, I wore my Atkins shirt four days in a row, and I was glad to see him so close to me.
Sunday was an afternoon that our pitching was “down” but our hitting was “up.”
Jason “Stop – Hammel Time” Hammel had found some great success with the club and was starting to get into the groove of things, except for that day. That day, he looked like an over zealous rookie.
Jason Hammel pitched a total of three innings and gave up five runs. It was a rough afternoon for him, no doubt.
The Rockies lineup, however, would make up for it. Starting with our All Star Hawper who homered to deep left field.
Atty would bring in Barmes.
Troy Tulowitzki hit a longball to deep right.
The Rockies decided to put in Chris Iannetta and take out Yorvit Torrealba. In the meantime, Ryan Spilborghs did some catching… which looks weird. But, it was the closest I’ve ever been to Spilly.
Seth Smith would hit a longball and bring in Barmes with him.
Ryan Spilborghs came into the game, not as a catcher, and doubled to deep right center, driving in Ian Stewart.
In the middle of the ninth, the game was all tied up. Huston Street came in to pitch, and he held off the Braves.
The rest of the game, well, that was up to our All Star, and he proved why he is an All Star bringing Seth Smith home on a center field walk off double. It was a phenomenal game.
What a way to see off Brad Hawpe.
The Rockies and winning and the Rockies and I, well, I guess it seems like, “we fight, we break up, we kiss, we make up.”
The Rockies have recently acquired Alan Embree. It’s kind of exciting, because I watched him with the Red Sox in 2004, and it was neat. I’m also excited because he kind of looks like a chipmunk, which is funny and exciting. Hopefully he’s a lefty that we’ve been looking for. I don’t know what his stats look like from the A’s, but I hope that he’ll perform well with us. Last I heard, the Rockies were close to signing Glendon Rusch to a one year deal and are still waiting to hear from the lefty. If he doesn’t come back, well, I wouldn’t necessarily count it as a loss. As I stated before, I haven’t kept track of Embree since he left the Red Sox, so maybe he’ll come in and won’t impress me very much. We’ll just have to see how he does once Spring Training roles around.
The Rockies have many things going for them though, pitching wise. Franklin Morales and Ubaldo Jimenez are among the top openers for this upcoming season. Jimenez has been clocked at over 100 mph on some fastballs. And we’ve got Embree, Ryan Speier, Luis Vizcaino, and Taylor Buchholz, all of whom seemed incredibly capable last season. Speier, when he was called up, performed great, and the only time that I really got mad at Buccholz was that balk that walked a guy home and won the game. That was kind of a big deal, but it was a dumb mistake, and hopefully it won’t happen again. The Rockies are also unsure about whether or not they’ll release Willy Taveras into free agency. As far as I’m concerned, whatever happens with that will happen. I know the Rockies are looking at moving Ryan Spilborghs into a full time center field. After the trade with Holliday, my original thought was that they would put Spilborghs in left field, this was because Spilly had been playing left more frequently. Seth Smith is now a possible prospect for this position, which is okay as well. He was often called in as a pinch hitter and performed pretty well. He has big shoes to fill, though.
So, enough with the deconstructing thoughts on baseball. In recent news, come Saturday, I’ll be a college graduate. Hurray! Now, I get to go into a crappy economy and find a job in a market where no one is hiring. I’m so excited for that… only not really. I also had a guitar lesson today, which was awesome. I’ve been playing guitar for almost three years, but I’m entirely self taught, so really, I suck; but my teacher disagrees. He specializes in blue grass, and he told me that I have the capabilities to start playing the harmonica with my guitar, which is apparently really hard for some people and he doesn’t really recommend it to most of his students. That was weird because the harmonica always seemed like such an old person instrument, but I’m actually excited and am considering purchasing one. My teacher also thought that I was good enough to go to an open mic and perform there. That’s a stretch because I’m all freakishly shy until you get to know me. But I was really flattered by the comment, and would actually maybe like to do it some day.
Also, I’ve been watching South Park while writing this blog, and it was the World of War Craftone, and it made me laugh. And now I’m watching one about pan flute bands. It is also funny.I guess that’s all.